Rosa M. Cabrera
Dr. Rosa M. Cabrera became the director of the Rafael Cintrón Ortiz Latino Cultural Center at UIC in the spring of 2011. She earned her Doctorate in Anthropology and Bachelor of Arts in Design from UIC. For ten years she directed The Field Museum’s "Cultural Connections" program, a partnership of more than 25 ethnic museums and cultural centers in Chicago that formed the Chicago Cultural Alliance in 2006 under her leadership.
Cabrera has taught anthropology and social justice courses for teachers, community leaders and college students, and has talked extensively on the role of ethnic museums and cultural centers in shaping community identity–which was the topic of her dissertation. She has collaborated with the museum community in national projects such as the "Immigration Sites of Conscience Network," the "National Diversity Education Program," and the "Race: Are We So Different? Project" to increase public dialogue on pressing contemporary issues, while exploring the interplay between diversity and democracy.
Prior to coming to UIC, she led a research team in a project with the Pilsen neighborhood’s Mexican and Mexican American community and the West Ridge’s South Asian community to better understand how cultural values and traditions impact residents’ understanding and practice of eco-friendly activities. She is an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Anthropology, Latin American and Latino Studies Program, and Museum and Exhibition Studies.
Cabrera is a 1.5 generation immigrant from Cuba who arrived with her mother in Chicago during a grey, snowy day in the 1970’s. She calls Chicago home and loves its parks, ‘L’ (elevated train), magnificent museums, diverse neighborhoods and people.
Mario Alberto (Beto) Lucero Ruiz became the Assistant Director of the UIC Latino Cultural Center (LCC) in the fall of 2013. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Illinois Institute of Art – Schaumburg, and received his Master's in Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS) from UIC. During his Master’s at UIC (Fall 2011 to Spring 2013), he was a Teaching Assistant for the LALS Program, and the Graduate Assistant and Graphic Designer for the LCC.
Mario has instructed High School Completion courses in Spanish at Triton College, and has collaborated with various social justice organizations. At the LCC, he engages diverse students in dialogue to create cultural responses to social conditions, and oversees the Arts-Based Civic Dialogues and Tours, develops public programs and marketing materials, including the website, and trains and supervises Student Educators and a junior graphic designer.
Mario is a first-generation Latino, with three sisters and parents from the Mexican states of Durango and Chihuahua. Growing up, he enjoyed playing marbles, climbing trees, playing soccer, reading books, and drawing wildlife and comics. Today, he enjoys outdoor activities with family and friends on the weekends, always looking for the next exciting adventure and a tennis partner! Mario lives in Oak Park with his wife, Cynthia, and two daughters, Jocelyn and Marlene.
Edith Tovar was born and raised in Chicago’s Little Village Community. As a first generation Mexican-American, she grew up with close ties to her Mexican heritage. As a teenager she was part of a traditional folkloric dance group where she learned how to "zapatear," but most importantly she learned the meanings behind all the colorful and cheerful movements of a Mexican traditional dance.
Being the youngest of four, she was the second in her family to graduate from a university. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish-Economics with a minor in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Further, in January of 2011, Edith was employed as a Student Worker at the Rafael Cintrón Ortiz Latino Cultural Center at UIC. Since then, her position has changed to Program Coordinator where she continues to work with UIC students by enhancing their knowledge and appreciation for Latino cultures through various program initiatives.
Lena G. Reynolds
Museums and Exhibitions Coordinatorlreynol4@uic.edu
Lena G. Reynolds is a third-generation Irish/Mexican Chicagoan. She received her Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Illinois in Urbana in 2010, then worked at the Chicago History Museum and the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, exploring the history of social change. She recently completed a Master's in Museum and Exhibition Studies at UIC with concentrations in History and Environmental issues. At the Latino Cultural Center (LCC), Lena has curated an exhibition for the "Chocolate: Drink of Gods, Food of Mortals" series in 2015, she organized the Center archives in preparation for the 40th anniversary September 2016, and she created grant-funded guide for the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience to help museums and cultural centers host community conversations about issues of Environmental and Climate Justice. Lena continues to lead civic dialogues and tours using the LCC mural to explore collective creative solutions for common challenges, and she is currently working on creating two traveling exhibitions to visit museums, universities, and libraries in the region: the Chocolate exhibit, and a traveling mural entitled "Awakening Hearts, Changing Lives." Lena believes in the power of cultural spaces to entertain, educate, and challenge our communities to build a more just society.